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Math Help - application of differentiation

  1. #1
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    Post [SOLVED]application of differentiation

    hello everyone, i have this question which i am unsure what to start with..

    A pole a+b meters high stands vertically in a river b meters deep. Assume a > b. How many meters above the surface of the water must it break so that the top bending down touches the bottom of the river and the horizontal distance on the surface of the water between the points where the parts of the pole enter the water would be a maximum?

    Suppose that the break point is x meters above the surface of water. Specify the function that is to be maximized in terms of x.


    all i can see is the height is x + b..
    any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by gilliana; October 29th 2009 at 04:01 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Hello, gilliana!

    I came up with a very messy function.


    A pole a+b m high stands vertically in a river b meters deep.
    Assume a > b.

    How many meters above the surface of the water must it break
    so that the top bending down touches the bottom of the river
    and the horizontal distance on the surface of the water between the points
    where the parts of the pole enter the water would be a maximum?

    Suppose that the break point is x meters above the surface of water.
    Specify the function that is to be maximized in terms of x.
    Code:
          *
          |
          |
          |
          |
        a |
          |                 P *
          |                   |\
          |                   | \
          |                 x |  \
          |                   |   \
          |                   |  θ \    a-x
          * ~ ~ ~           Q * - - * S
          |                   |  y   \
          |                   |       \
        b |                 b |        \
          |                   |         \
          |                   | v      θ \
          * - - - -         R * - - - - - * T
                                    z

    The pole is broken at P\!:\;\;PQ = x,\;PT = a-x,\;QR = b
    Let y = QS,\;z = RT
    Let \theta = \angle PSQ = \angle PTR

    In right triangle PRT\!:\;\tan\theta = \frac{x+b}{z}
    In right triangle PQS\!:\;\tan\theta =\frac{x}{y}
    . . Hence: . \frac{x+b}{z} \:=\:\frac{x}{y} \quad\Rightarrow\quad y \:=\:\frac{xz}{x+b} .[1]


    In right triangle PRT\!:\;\;z^2 + (x+b)^2 \:=\:(a-x)^2

    . . Solve for z\!:\;\;z \:=\:\sqrt{a^2-b^2 - 2(a+b)x}

    \text{Substitute into }{\color{blue}[1]}\!:\;\;y \;=\;\frac{x\left[a^2-b^2-2(a+b)x\right]^{\frac{1}{2}}}{x+b}

    And that is the function to be maximized.

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  3. #3
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    thank you very much Soroban, it is a nice clear diagram that explains everything.
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